The best smartphone apps, websites, and tools to help improve your diet
If you have a smartphone, you’ve probably experimented with a few mobile applications (or “apps”). One of the most popular—and useful--categories of apps are those that help you monitor and manage various aspects of your health and diet.
There are apps that let you look up nutrition information for foods and restaurants, track your food intake, log your exercise stats, chart your weight loss, analyze your sleep habits, even monitor how much water you’re drinking. (For those without smartphones, many of these are available as web-based applications, as well.)
This sort of record-keeping is a tried and true behavior modification technique. If you’re having difficulty managing your money, for example, Money Girl might suggest that you track your expenditures for a week or two. If you can’t figure out where your time goes, productivity experts like Get it Done Guy recommend logging your activities. And if you’re trying to lose a few pounds, a nutritionist or dietitian might suggest that you keep a food diary.
Not only does this sort of record keeping give you valuable information about your habits—like revealing the times and places that you tend to overeat, or just how much you’re spending on lattes —but just the act of recording a behavior tends to change it. Even if no one is going to see my diet log but me, if I know I’m going to have to write that cookie down, I might just skip it.
You could do this with pen and paper, of course. But now you can also do it on your cell phone—and this offers a few advantages.
4 Ways Your Smartphone Can Make You Healthier
We always have our cell phones with us and they make it very easy and convenient to log things as we go through the day. Whatever you want to keep track of—weight, water consumption, spending, workouts, calories—there’s an app for that (and you’ll find links to some of my favorites below). Plus, because everyone is constantly fooling around with their phones, no-one even has to know what you’re doing.
Digital devices also offer some very cool features that pen and paper don’t. For example, you can simply scan the barcode on that frozen dinner to get a nutritional analysis or—if it passes muster—to add it to your diet log. A Japanese technology company is even working on an app that would allow you to simply snap a picture of your plate with your camera to get an analysis of the caloric content. There’s an app called DrinkTracker that not only logs how many drinks you’ve had but will estimate your blood alcohol content—and call a cab for you if you’re not fit to drive
Support groups have always been a powerful tool for change and mobile apps like the popular Lose It and Calorie Count not only help you track your food intake and exercise, they also keep you connected to a supportive community. Even better, your community can be made up of people that you don’t actually know in real life.